Life is all about change. When you trust an unchanging God - you have the ability to embrace change and trust Him in the midst of it. Join me as the Lord leads me through a new phase of my journey.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday ~ My heart is full

I haven't made a list of the many things I am thankful for lately - so I decided it was about time to do that.

I am thankful for ~

*sunshine and blue sky -- even if it is a windchill of 22 degrees!

*my workout buddy and dear friend, Marifran.

*my brunch date with Karen for tomorrow.

*Small group

*Chicago daughters


*the EL

*cross walk signs

*Trader Joes and Marianos

*the Sweetmans


*Bible Study

*movies with Kateland

*my church

*my neighbors

*my long, warm coat

*my snowboots

*food on my table

*time with Jesus



*our house guest ~ Andrea

*my sweet husband

*precious daughters and sons in law



*email, facebook and text messages

*friends who serve all over the world

*my BIG God

*Lake Michigan and Michigan Ave.

*Whitney (DT)

*coffee with Jess

*lunch with Lesa

*fellow TX transplants :-)

*my City

*treks to Texas

*mountains of Colorado

*the sweetness and the difficulty of walking with Jesus

Not an exhaustive list by any means - but just a few things that are on my mind today. 

What are you thankful for?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Musings ~ When Everyone is Irish

Saint Patrick's day is pure craziness in Chicago.  The Chicago River is dyed green and there are parties everywhere.  It is a day when no matter what family heritage people have - they suddenly become Irish.

Alan and I looked up the reasons for St. Patrick's Day and found it very interesting.  I think we are all familiar with the story of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland - but I wondered how that somehow turned into a day of debauchery! As we continued to read, there was an account of St. Patrick going into a pub - ordering a drink, only to have the bartender short him on the amount of liqour in the glass. (Say it was to be a 4 oz. whiskey and he was only given 3 oz.)  He told the bartender that there was a demon in the basement that fed on the extra alcohol that the bartender was skimping on and that the only way to rid himself of the demon was to starve him with generosity.  As the story goes, the bartender began to be generous to all of his patrons and the demon left his basement.

Now that is an interesting story.  I still don't think it lends itself to drinking from dawn until dusk - passing out on the street, stumbling around, yelling and depositing green vomit on all of the streets - but I do love this story of generosity.

It got me thinking about who I am feeding in my life?  

Am I feeding my selfishness or my generosity?  

Am I feeding myself with the fare of this world or with God's Word?  

Am I feeding my desire to please the Lord or my desire to please myself?  

Am I feeding my tendency to judge or my desire to dispense grace?

What if our St. Patrick's day tradition became one of being intentional about our generosity to all for that weekend?  What if we were truly intentional about being generous all the time?

Don't get me wrong . . . I'm not judging anyone or looking down on someone who wants to have a green beer on St. Patty's Day or even those who overindulge.  I do, however, feel a deep sadness when we try to fill our lives with things that we think will bring us satisfaction and neglect to turn to the One who can truly give us what we want and need.  The emptiness of that breaks my heart.

Let's be a people who are generous with our love . . . with grace . . . with the gospel . . . with kindness . . . with forgiveness . . . with our time . . . with our lives.

Let's start a new tradition :-)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday's Thoughts ~ A Whale of a Tale

You may have guessed it . . . I've been reading about the life of Jonah this past week.  Oh, how I love Jonah, because he is so like us.  Gotta love it ~ he hears God's voice and instructions and runs the opposite way.  Sound familiar?

"One day long ago, God’s Word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.”"

Jonah gets a word from God telling him to go to the Ninevites and preach to them - calling them to repentance.  I'm pretty sure that Jonah said, "WHAT!  Are you kidding me?"  The Ninevites were a hated group among the Jews.  They were a pagan people who were not neutral about the Jews and their God - but were hostile to both.  They were the last people that Jonah would choose to be among.

Who do you think is beyond salvation?  
Who is too wicked to deserve it?

"But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish—as far away from God as he could get. "

Jonah finds an easy out where all the pieces seem to fall together.
     *he went to Joppa
     *he found a ship sailing to Tarshish (opposite direction of Nineveh)
     *he had the money for the fare and was able to board the ship

BUT ~ he was fleeing the presence of the Lord.

Psalm 139 says, 
"Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
    to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
    If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!

Bad plan on so many fronts! 

Is there something that the Lord has 
asked you to do and you have not done it?

Are you running toward Him or 
away from Him?

A storm hits and everyone is afraid.  Now we have Jonah's sin impacting the lives of others.

Our sin ALWAYS impacts others . . . ALWAYS.

In a moment of selflessness, Jonah says, "Throw me overboard."  The Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah and he is in the belly of this fish for 3 days and 3 nights. What an unusual place for reflection - but that is exactly what Jonah does.  

 He prays . . . he repents . . . and vomit becomes his best friend.

"Then God spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore."

Jonah now decides to be obedient. He goes to Nineveh and proclaims God's Word of judgment.  The people responded with repentance and God spared the city.

Jonah, however, was NOT happy.

               He was displeased.

                           He was pouty.

                                         He was prideful.

God called him on it.

We don't really know what Jonah did in response to God's admonishment.  I would assume he listened to God and repented.  Jesus even refers to Jonah and the repentant Ninevites in Luke 11.  I suppose it is a story with an lasting impact!

As I thought about this story, I asked myself a few more questions.

How do I react when the Lord brings 
conviction in my life?

Am I willing to do an about face?

Do I have God's heart for others?

Is my heart in line with His? or do i think 
some people just deserve it?

I would like to be less Jonah-like and more Jesus-like.  I want to respond with obedience when I hear God's instructions.  I want to see people the way God sees them - each one worthy of His grace and salvation.  I want to be useful to God in His kingdom plans.

I really don't want to end up in the belly of a whale.

Now that's a whale of a tale.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thankful Thursday ~ Remembering Janeth

March 7th, 2006, my sweet friend, Janeth Richardson went to be with the Lord.  She has been on my mind all day.  Her daugther, Meredith, posted a picture of the two them and tears filled my eyes.

I know that she is in the presence of her Jesus that she loved so very  much.  I have seen the Lord provide for her family in her absence from this world.  She has amazing kids and the Lord has provided for their every need.

I just miss her.

I miss being with her - whether is was at camp, at her house, shopping, eating, doing Bible study, praying and certainly just LAUGHING.  There was always a lot of laughter.  Always.

I cherish every memory and I am so thankful for the impact that she made on my life and on the lives of countless others.  She was so very loved and is so very missed.

Seeing Janeth is one of the things I look forward to the most when I think about heaven.  I picture her being one of the first to greet me with a huge smile on her face and a big hug.  I feel sure she is on the greeting team.

It is so hard to see people that we love leave this earth - especially when to my finite, human mind, they are leaving much too soon.  But - I do trust in the Lord with all my heart and do not rely on my own understanding.  He is good.  He has a plan.

I have the assurance that I will one day see this sweet friend and for now, I say, "See you later" and rejoice with a thankful heart that I was able to call this special lady my friend.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Musings ~ Just What We Need

Last week, I spent the week with Elijah.  Okay - not literally, but all of my readings were about the life of Elijah.  What an interesting life he lead!  He was the bearer of bad news on many occasions and had to run for his life more than once.   1st Kings 19 is one of those instances. Elijah ran and ran and ran all the way into the wilderness.  He collapsed, exhausted and probably a bit depressed, and fell into a deep sleep.

"Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”  He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep.The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”


Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”  A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.
When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?” 


God said, “Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus. When you get there anoint Hazael; make him king over Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi; make him king over Israel. Finally, anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Anyone who escapes death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu; and anyone who escapes death by Jehu will be killed by Elisha. Meanwhile, I’m preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven’t bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven’t kissed his image.”


Elijah was exhausted, depressed and ready to cash it in.  The prospect of death was actually looking inviting.  The Lord was not unaware of Elijah. He sent angels, not once, but twice to feed him.  He passed before Him as a quiet whisper, giving him His presence.  Then, He reminded Him of his purpose and gave him next steps -- not the whole thing -- but next steps.


When I am praying for others, I often pray for those very same things.  





I don't always know what all is going on with those I love, but I am sure that those 4 needs should be covered.  I was so encouraged to see that pattern in scripture.

God loves and cares for you and me in the same way that He loved and cared for Elijah. 

He is our Provision.

"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:19

His Presence is always with us.

"I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you."
Joshua 1:5
"But the Lord has been my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge."  Psalms 94:22

He gives us Purpose.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."  Ephesians 2:10

He is our Peace.

"Peace, I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

He is just what we need, 
right when we need it.




Friday, March 1, 2013

Thankful Thursday ~ God's Sovereignty

I'm leading a small group discussion on a study called, Discovery:  God's Answers to Our Deepest Questions. by Will Wyatt. Will and his wife, Betty, discipled me in a Young Life program when I was 20 years oldTheir impact on my life is evident as I go through this study and see how much of who I am is influenced by their teaching.  I have an amazing group of 15 young women who are earnestly seeking to know God better and to trust Him more.  Our 3rd discussion was last night and it was on God's sovereignty.  Let's just say that is not light subject matter!  We had some great discussion, answered a few questions and pondered a lot more!

When we start asking questions about why certain things happened and why they did not -- we can get ourselves in quite a tangle.  I am thankful that God has provided us with some solid teaching and amazing scripture to help us navigate these murky waters.

I am thankful for God's Nature -- He has no equal.  He is alone in His power, His wisdom, His freedom.  He is above all and is totally independent.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.", declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8

He has no needs -- Only God who has no needs is capable of loving unconditionally, without expecting or needing anything in return.

He is Incomparable -- "He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of Lords."  1st Timothy 6:15

He is All Powerful -- nothing is impossible for Him.

"O Lord God of our fathers -- the only God in all the heavens, the Ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth -- you are so powerful, so mighty.  Who can stand against you? "
2nd Chronicles 20:6

He is Wisdom -- not only does God know everything, but He is wise in the use of His knowledge.  Knowledge without wisdom is of little use.  God is perfection in both.

"His understanding is unlimited."  Psalm 147:5

God is sovereign over our individual lives -- You are dependent on Him who is life for your life.  He has a good purpose for you, and as His child you can be assured that no one will ever thwart His purposes for you.  You are never on your own.

"His mind concerning me remains unchanged, and who can turn him from His purposes?  Whatever He wants to do , He does."  Job 23:13

We can trust a sovereign God whose knowledge about us, and the use of His power and freedom, are always filtered through His goodness.

"The Lord is fair in everything He does, and full of kindness."  Psalm 145:17

"The goodness of God endures continually."  Psalm 52:1

"For the Lord is always good.  He is always loving and kind, and His faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation."  Psalm 100:5

God's good includes everything He causes or allows to happen that He uses to conform us into the likeness of Jesus.

God is sovereign -- the supreme, unencumbered ruler of all things.  He is alone in His power, wisdom, and freedom, and all His attributes are filtered through His goodness.  Knowing God is sovereign and good should give us confidence that we can trust Him with everything.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brothers."  Romans 8:28-29

There are just some things that I will never understand in this life time.  There are other things that I can see God's purposes in, and yet, I wish they had not happened.  In my humanness, I just don't always get it.


I can always go back to what I know to be true.  I can rest in God's sovereignty coupled with His goodness.  I can submit to the refining fires that burn away all those things about me that do not look like Jesus.

And it is so worth it.

There is nothing that compares to the sweetness of walking with Jesus - in this life and in the life to come.  I can rest in that.